CNN's Brian Stelter: Trump's support for Fox/ Disney merger “makes you wonder if Rupert Murdoch and his friendship with the president are having an effect”

Stelter: “That raises this question of whether there has been interference from Trump or his White House against CNN, against Time Warner”

From the December 14 edition of CNN's Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin

Video file

BROOKE BALDWIN (HOST):  Explain why that merger is different from AT&T/ Time Warner and call them out. 

BRIAN STELTER: There's actually a lot of reasons why Disney and [21st Century] Fox employees are a little nervous about their jobs today Brooke because Disney and Fox say there will be two billion dollars in synergies as a result of this deal. “Synergies,” usually code for cutbacks, for reductions, for layoffs. So we're actually going to see the opposite from this mega media merger. We're probably going to see jobs go away in the short term. 

It's strange to hear the White House say they expect this is going to be a boon for the entertainment industry, that jobs are going be created as a result. And I was also struck by the other detail [Sarah Huckabee] Sanders shared that  President Trump called Rupert Murdoch to congratulate him on this deal. We know they've been friends for a long time. We know they speak frequently.

But it's notable that the president would reach out in the middle of this transaction and congratulate him. I do think it's downright bogus though to say it’s going to create jobs. And what I think the comments today from Sanders are going to do, they are going to raise the questions even more about the pending AT&T/ Time Warner deal. That, of course, involves our parent company here at CNN, Time Warner. So AT&T is trying to buy Time Warner, the government has blocked the deal.

The government is in the middle of suing AT&T to try and stop it from happening. That raises this question of whether there has been interference from Trump or from his White House against CNN, against Time Warner. That is something the government has denied. They say they are taking action against the deal because it violates anti-trust law. Well, if the AT&T/Time Warner deal violated anti-trust law, but the Disney/Fox deal does not, that's going to be very confusing. That's going to be very curious to investors, to Wall Street, and experts from outside government. So that is an open question I think. 

And when we hear Sanders praising this deal it suggests a very friendly approach from the government toward this new deal announced today. Makes you wonder if Rupert Murdoch and his friendship with the president are having an effect on how it's viewed. 


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